Australian University Holds Class in Minecraft

Australian University Holds Class in Minecraft

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When their school flooded, students met for class on a virtual campus.

Back in September, Mojang announced Block by Block, a program to use Minecraft in schools. While it's been teaching kids everything from urban planning to computer programming, it was used in a whole new setting this week when it helped Australian Bond University to hold classes despite its campus being flooded.

Inspired by Block by Block, Professor Jeffrey Brand started The Minecraft Uni Project with the goal of expanding classroom education into the blocky game. "On day one this semester, I introduced my students to the world," Brand told Polygon. I asked them to do three things on the welcome sign under the Arch Building: 1) Build Bond, 2) Make Books, 3) Play Nice." In two weeks, the students had recreated their campus, even including a Nether Portal in the basement labeled "The Effects of Video Game Violence".

When Tropical Cyclone Oswald flooded Bond University's campus, Brand decided to leverage their new virtual one instead. To hold class, Brand used Minecraft in combination with a remote slideshow. Brand handed out XP to reward participation. "[W]e were just there in another IM Chat environment except that we had a proximal model of our real-world room and the affordances of gestures and the occasional brandishing of TNT," Brand said.

"The discussion was not as fluid as it is in the classroom due to the IM chat," said student Steven Kuiken. "I found that following the content and lecture slides was an easy task to manage whilst in our online lab. Pulling up articles was easy." After almost two hours of lecture, Brand's class was set free, where they promptly set off fireworks.

Source: Polygon
Image: Minecraft Uni

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That might just be the coolest thing I've heard in a while! I wonder if any other universities will be moving to this idea. Maybe even holding online courses with Minecraft, instead of just a website?

This is the most awesome thing ever. Though teachers should get full diamond armor and a sword to keep trouble makers in check.

I wish I could set off fireworks at the end of many of my lectures.

What a cool story. This is why we need to protect freedom on the internet. Because it's exactly that freedom which makes stories like these possible. If only there was no hunger mechanic in the game I'd go back and play this some more.

I've seen the day when teachers hand out experience and achievements like video games. This world is getting very, very strange.

Next time you see someone try to chop down a tree with their bare hands, you know who to blame.

Would be awesome if online colleges had some kind of video game campus. If people get out of hand, the teacher can have mod powers and ban them for the day, thus they miss a day of class.

Of course, this would be a lot of money but it's awesome that this worked out.

VanQQisH:
If only there was no hunger mechanic in the game I'd go back and play this some more.

Last I knew you could turn that off but I haven't played in a long time.

Someone else might know better.

TheProfessor234:

VanQQisH:
If only there was no hunger mechanic in the game I'd go back and play this some more.

Last I knew you could turn that off but I haven't played in a long time.

Someone else might know better.

My understanding is that they played in creative mode, which removes hunger and health bars.

Antari:
I've seen the day when teachers hand out experience and achievements like video games. This world is getting very, very strange.

If by "strange" you mean "awesomesauce", then I agree :)

IanDavis:

TheProfessor234:

VanQQisH:
If only there was no hunger mechanic in the game I'd go back and play this some more.

Last I knew you could turn that off but I haven't played in a long time.

Someone else might know better.

My understanding is that they played in creative mode, which removes hunger and health bars.

You can play in Creative mode which allows you to fly, instantly destroy blocks, ignore damage, and ignore hunger.

There is also peaceful mode, which lets you ignore hunger and gives you rapid healing. This is my preferred mode of play since you still have to do things like collecting supplies.

I live in Australia and want to go to Uni.....*looks interested*

I'd just like to point out that Oswald was NOT a Tropical Cyclone, but rather an EX-Tropical Cyclone. There is a major difference.

What the balls does a Nether Portal have to do with the supposed effects of video game violence? I don't get this connection at all, yet it's pointed out like it should be common sense.

Other than Ghasts making you want to punch your computer monitor, I mean.

 

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